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Project Hope

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Hospital aims to offer more for cancer patients

By Kacie Goode

Since its opening in 2010 Flaget’s Cancer Center and staff accomplishments have earned several recognitions. Now, an effort called Project Hope is aimed at further improving experiences and resources for Nelson Countians and others affected by cancer.

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During a monthly Hope Tour of the hospital and its cancer center Thursday, Executive Site Director Rick Vancise and other health leaders walked guests through some of what the hospital already offers, as well as what they plan to add as part of the $1.1 million project.

In the main hospital building, patients have access to full diagnostic services, including PET scans, MRI and CT scans. Currently, patients can also receive a mammogram.

“We usually perform between 250 and 300 mammograms a month,” said Kelly Boone, director of imaging, adding that the hospital recently added a radiologist who specializes in breast imaging.

But they hope to soon offer something more advanced.

“In the near future, we hope to add 3-D mammography,” Boone said.

Going beyond the 2-D imaging produced by current equipment, the 3-D mammography looks at a breast much like a CAT scan does, looking at different layers of the breast with 15 images taken from different angles

“There’s a lot more data, a lot more information for the radiologist to look at to pick up those very tiny, even micro-calcifications,” Boone said.

The advanced imaging could allow for earlier diagnosis of breast cancer.

In the hospital’s information packet about Project Hope, Bardstown resident Leigh Anne Wimsett provided testimony of why 3-D mammography is important, having been blindsided by a stage 3 cancer diagnosis shortly after a clear 2-D mammogram.

“When it comes to cancer, we need screenings that are better than ‘good,’” Wimsett said.

Detecting breast cancer at its earliest stage not only improves treatment options, but also a patient’s survival rate.

Over at the Cancer Center, there are also several projects officials are hoping to see come to fruition soon.

The center currently has seven infusion rooms, which is where patients receive treatment. According to data provided by the hospital, a growth in patients seeking treatment at the center has led to longer wait times for chemotherapy, and officials hope to address that issue by adding three more infusion rooms.

Another project for the center will add an in-house pharmacy. Currently, cancer treatment pharmaceuticals are kept in the main building’s pharmacy, requiring them to be transported, which is something new federal guidelines want changed.

After learning about just a few of the updates, the hospital is looking to make, tour guests also heard from this month’s guest speaker, Jim Roby, who shared his story of hope.

Six years ago after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, Roby learned that the cancer had spread to his liver. He spoke with doctors in Louisville about treatment and then spoke with Flaget’s Cancer Center about treatment, ultimately choosing the latter.

For five months, every two weeks, Roby received treatment at the center.

“They were treating not only the disease, they were treating the whole person,” Roby recalled of the staff, who has helped him live the past six years when he was originally given less than two years.

Roby is now cancer free.

“What we received from out here was just unbelievable,” he told the group.

The next hospital and cancer center tour will be May 11 at 5 p.m. Those interested in attending can RVSP by calling (502) 993-8896 or emailing andreashepherd@kentuckyonehealth.org. The tour begins in the lobby of the main building. Additional information on the project, including statistics, more on Roby and other stories of hope from locals, and donation opportunities, can be found at www.kentuckyonehealth.org/projecthope.